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Little Waves
Staff member
I was asked to repost this thread, so here it is. New findings from this leak are still being posted regularly, but here's the story so far:

Kishi said:
Earlier today, hobbyists obtained a large volume of Nintendo's old files, including early builds of Super NES games as well as source code for existing games (listed below).


The full extent of the knowledge to be gained here is still unknown as people in the community continue to analyze all this suddenly-unearthed data, but here are some highlights:

Super Mario World


↑ Unused sprites of the Super Leaf power-up from Super Mario Bros. 3 (known to have been in the game at one point due to ancient magazine scans).


↑ A skydiving helmet for Mario.


↑ More frames for Tail Mario, small Mario sprites resembles those used in the Super NES Test Program, the Venus Fire Trap from SMB3, and an early face for Wiggler.


↑ Early Blargg concepts (much larger than the final version) and dolphin designs. You can see several works in progress, with only partial outlines.


↑ Now the earliest known design of Yoshi (not counting Miyamoto's pencil sketch), who went through several forms during development.


↑ Unused graphics for Bowser, including a frame outside the Koopa Clown. The Koopa Clown also seemed to have a turn-key in place of its propeller, and there's an odd, smaller enemy resembling a Piranha Plant with eyes.


↑ Early sprites for Peach (some clearly placeholder) and a frame of Mario without his hat.


↑ An early world map design. The Piranha Plant still exists in the final ROM.


↑ A grandfatherly Yoshi with a beard and cane.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past


↑ Early sprites for Link.


↑ Side-view sprites of Link, all of which appear suited to some kind of battle scene.

Super Mario Kart


↑ A detailed animation for being flattened by a Thwomp. Even more interestingly, the character appears to be a car with eyes, potentially implying the game was in development before Mario was attached.

Star Fox


↑ An early map screen.


↑ Early gameplay.

Yoshi's Island


↑ An early world map design.


↑ Apparently an early design for Burt.


↑ An early, work-in-progress frame for the final battle against the gigantic Baby Bowser.

An early build with a more animated stage select screen, early UI elements (particularly for throwing eggs), and the subtitle Super Mario Bros. 5.

An unused mini-game where Baby Mario hands Yoshi bombs to drop on houses.

Super Donkey Kong

↑ A barely-playable prototype ROM labeled "super donkey," as in Super Donkey Kong, the Japanese title of Donkey Kong Country. The art style is a perfect match for Yoshi's Island, and it features similar mechanics such as the ground pound, but the player character is an unfamiliar human. This seems to point to a different game—whether it be the original vision for DKC before Rare came on, an actual late SNES Mario game ("Super Mario Bros. 5"), a combination of the two, or something else entirely—being prototyped, cancelled, and heavily reworked into what we know today as Yoshi's Island.


↑ Donkey Kong.

Star Fox 2


↑ An early map screen—apparently earlier than a similar one shown to the press during the game's development. Placeholder graphics of a Blooper and a Ghini from Link's Awakening are in place.


↑ An unnamed sheep character in place of Fay the dog. This character had previously been seen only on a provisional title screen in the pages of Nintendo Power, where her face had been obscured by the build date.


↑ Earlier portrait designs for Fox, Falco, and the sheep, as well as a human pilot.

Also included in the leak are pre-release builds of a number of third-party games released between 1991 and '92. These appear to feature more minor differences from their final versions, but again, new discoveries are being made even now. And while some answer long-standing questions, others are raising new ones as the mystery continues to unfold.

narcodis said:
Dylan Cuthbert chimed in on some of the stuff that got leaked:

RT-55J said:
The music in the Super Donkey video was apparently added by the author in post, and not part of the game.

Also, it looks like those first two Star Fox pictures are probably from a an early prototype of Star Fox 1, not 2. Barrel rolling isn't implemented, and there apparently aren't any character graphics the ROM. I wouldn't be surprised if it was from the point when the project was still a Starglider sequel.

The music slaps tho:

Keurig said:
Phantoon said:
I'm wondering if the character in Super Donkey is Stanley the Bugman from Donkey Kong III. He gets a weird projectile weapon that reminds me of that game.

I also wonder if this got repurposed because Rare chose to do a Donkey Kong game. In which case we'd never have got Yoshi's Island...

Looks like the main character might have intended to have been Mario at one point:

Taken from the Era thread

RT-55J said:
The training course music in Yoshi's Island was substantially longer:

madhair60 said:
The stomp attack in Super Donkey with the two little ghosties flying out ended up in Mario Maker, which is bonkers

RT-55J said:

The side-view Link sprites apparently went through several revisions:

I like how in the top-down walk cycle in the second file there that you can see Link's nose extend beyond his hair.

Also, I think it's notable just how much of resemblance Link's face here has to his face in Zelda 3's font (on the wanted posters). [citation needed]

RT-55J said:
Super FX Yoshi model: Super FX Link model:
Starxxon said:
Is this apart of the yoshis island prototypes?
It doesn't seem part of a particular game, it was found in a folder with various 3D models experiment (including a swordsman called Link), in the same format as some Star Fox assets.

Assets from Dragonfly (Pilotwings beta):
Apparently the project name for F-Zero was CAR RACE. Scintillating. (I haven't seen anybody do a deep dive into it yet.)

Kazin said:
According to this thread, at one point the Game Boy Color was going to have a built in tool to let you select the palettes for monochrome Game Boy games, similar (I would guess, anyway) to the Super Game Boy. I always thought it was weird that changing the palettes was a sorta hidden feature and only possible on the boot up screen! I wish they'd have implemented this, so if I forget to change Kirby's Dreamland 2's piss yellow default color scheme, I could correct it without rebooting :(

Phantoon said:
More of the leak has come out, including Mario 64's source code and both N64 Zeldas

RT-55J said:
The vast majority of the Zelda 64 (OoT, Master Quest, and MM) source files available are completely empty - 860 out of 894 of them.

RT-55J said:
Phantoon said:
Nooooooo! That's the one that I think most people would want most. To see the build behind those early screenshots.
It looks like that tweet was just referring to the code (.c and .h files). Judging by threads such as this, the assets are fine, and there is plenty of beta stuff to sift through.

RT-55J said:

Kishi said:

He has separate cycles for when he's holding a sword and shield, but I didn't feel like guessing as to how those sprites attach to his hands, heh.

RT-55J said:
Big picture dumps of Zelda 3 stuff:

Some highlights:





still no SNES F-Zero stuff D:

RT-55J said:
Some really rough SGI workstation demos. One might have been a Zelda thing, and the other are definitely racing game tests.


2D art by Tsuyoshi Watanabe for an unidentified project(s), from the period between his work on Zelda 3 ('91) and Star Fox ('93). Definitely Super FX related.

A menu/map?

Status screen/hangar?

These look like they'd fit in the white squares in the above picture:

These look like Super FX textures:

More textures. The smoke cloud in the top-right here matches the one in Star Fox almost exactly:

polygon/dithering test

Japanese text. I see a number of repeated kanji, so I suspect this is closer to a script than a font (though I don't see much kana, so I'm not sure if it's intelligible). (Note: I can't read Japanese.)

This stuff dates from Dec '91 to Feb '92. My wild guess is that these are early Starglider 3 concepts before the project switched direction to the Star Fox we're familiar with, though this could just as easily be something else entirely (for reference, the Star Fox proto from this leak is from Sept '92).

Kishi said:
RT-55J said:
Also, it looks like those first two Star Fox pictures are probably from a an early prototype of Star Fox 1, not 2. Barrel rolling isn't implemented, and there apparently aren't any character graphics the ROM. I wouldn't be surprised if it was from the point when the project was still a Starglider sequel.

The music slaps tho:

Just listened to this. It is curious that two tracks are clearly early versions of tracks used in Star Fox 2 (Result at 0:00, and Venom at 0:50), especially since Star Fox 1's composer, Hajime Hirasawa, is not credited on the second game.

It could be chalked up to the cultural trend of Japanese publishers not crediting people who have since left the company, as Hirasawa left Nintendo in 1992—supposedly over disputes regarding ownership of his music, interestingly enough.

Bongo said:
They found source code for some NES games, including SMB1. The SMB1 source code had some lines commented out. Someone uncommented them, but in order to get it to run correctly they had to remove some other code in order to free up space. Apparently this behavior for red koopa troopas was removed solely for space limitations:

RT-55J said:
Anyhow, it looks like the overworld of Zelda 3 was going to have a more Neutopia-esque art style. It's interesting, but I can see why they decided to change it up.

Also, we have a beta version of Link's Awakening's overworld from back when the scope of the project was just "let's see how much of ALttP we can remake." If you check the other tweets in that thread you can see how some chunks appear to have different (older?) revisions that are more faithful to the source material, possibly indicating that they were in the middle of changing goals when this backup was made.


Summon for hire
Is anyone collecting all the graphical assets from this leak in a single location that's easy to browse? It'd be great to just be able to peruse it all at leisure rather than trying to keep up with each individual deep dive (though I very much appreciate all the work various individuals are doing at sorting through all of this material).


Little Waves
Staff member
The Cutting Room Floor is gradually fleshing out related games' prototype pages. That still requires you to know what game you're looking for, but I'm not aware of any other centralized repository for information that's mostly being posted to scattered Twitter accounts. All the more reason to post in this thread if anyone happens across something that catches their eye!


did i do all of that?
So where might one find these games? I'd like to load them up and play the Gameboy ones on actual hardware... Not looking for links, just maybe a suggestion on what to Google. Hoping I can avoid going to one of those places if you know what I mean


did i do all of that?
You know, I'd never played X before, and having played a bit of Lunar Chase now... what an achievement. I would have been enthralled by this game had I played it back in the day (though I imagine it would be very difficult to see on an unbacklit Gameboy...). Very cool stuff.

Looking forward to when some of these Japenese only games get fantranslations. I bet they'll do Pokemon Picross first...


did i do all of that?
Don't sleep on Sutte Hakkun - it's a fun little puzzle platformer. Apparently there was a Satellaview version we've had access to, but I've not played it. Give it a shot!


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
That’s separate thread worthy probably, though I’d tread carefully on what we share/discuss, as I believe some employee personal details were distributed in that leak.


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad

A more detailed official mock up of that old infamous “NX Controller” design. I don’t know, maybe if it were more oval shaped...

On a side note, that leaked private key thing sounds like a false alarm reading the rest of that thread, so no 100-in-1 bootleg Switch cartridges anytime soon.
Whoahoho... they have quite the local investigation team; contracted out or not. I doubt this is uncommon when compared to with similar companies, but still its something to see. And where does my imagination go with this? Never looking at Ninji's from Super Mario Bros. 2 the same way again; little rascals driving around in non-descript white surveillance vans keeping notes on Nintendo's enemies.


This is definitely standard operating procedure for a lot of corporations but it's still fucked up to see it all laid out like this. Just call the guy with a "we are offering you a job and if you don't take it we will slap you with a C&D at minimum", what is this cloak and dagger shit


Apparently people are finding (or stitching together? I don't understand this quite well enough) the uncompressed music from Super Mario World and it's stunning.

Full playlist here.


space hero for hire
(He/Him + RT/artee)
The GBA port's leaked source included the filenames of the samples.

My guess that information was enough for them to find the original samples from whatever synthesizers or sample libraries Nintendo had back in the day, and then from that they stitched music together.


can stop, will stop
From what I can tell, it's a combination of finding the original instrument samples from the SNES and then reconstructing the music using those uncompressed samples. Most likely they just used any MIDI-centric DAW like Logic for the sequencing once they had the samples.

Edit: ninja'd by RT-55J with more info!
Last edited:


can stop, will stop
You know what, I'm really curious if the original samples actually had this much reverb or if the people who did the reconstruction added that themselves.


You know what, I'm really curious if the original samples actually had this much reverb or if the people who did the reconstruction added that themselves.

Thank you both for more info! I looked through the Twitter thread and they had this note since it seems to be a common question:

The amount of reverb you hear on these tracks is how these patches are by default, on the D-550. The synth was famous for its reverb, and we consider it as a part of what makes those sounds stand out. We do understand your concerns and criticism on the reverb. Later down the line, we may go back, and redo some tracks, to have less reverb, since that is a common criticism we are getting. For now, however, these tracks will have that fat reverb the D-550 is known for.


can stop, will stop
Thanks for digging that up! I did look at the Twitter thread because I was wondering if they'd mention it, but somehow I missed that comment. I'm pretty surprised the reverb was part of the original patches! I guess I shouldn't be, given the era those synths are from.


I cuss you bad
I'm not really sure of the validity of this approach (specifically with SNES games) - David Wise had an interview with Game Explain and the efforts of Jammin' Sam Miller were mentioned. Wise said that the music never sounded like the uncompressed versions, it was made with the heavily compressed samples for the SNES's heavily limited music RAM. So it wasn't a case that the track was uncompressed and it was compressed to fit in memory, the new "uncompressed" version is the first time it has appeared in that form and it never sounded like that to the composer.

Also it's a bit hit and miss. Sometimes you get something that sounds incredible:

Other times it's a bit off. Probably the reverb mentioned before but Athletic sounds really tinny:

Then there's this which just sounds wrong. They might be the original samples but the end result is miles off:


excused from moderation duty
Staff member
Composers of the day would certainly have been targeting the finished sound, yeah.


can stop, will stop
So it wasn't a case that the track was uncompressed and it was compressed to fit in memory, the new "uncompressed" version is the first time it has appeared in that form and it never sounded like that to the composer.
Yeah, exactly this. When you're working under such heavy limitations like the SNES's RAM capacity, the only way to do it is to write with the compressed sound, otherwise you're going to be in for some nasty surprises when your track goes in the game.


Interesting. So would you have a composition tool that only played the compressed sounds? Or do you choose certain sounds to compress (like the strings shown in the previous post) and others not to?